• Andy Wu


October 19, 2021, Opinion: "Facebook has a clear mission: Connect everyone in the world. Clarity is good, but in Facebook’s case, it has also put the company in a bind because the mission — and the company’s vision for creating value through network effects — has also become the source of its biggest problems. As the company moved from connecting existing friends online to making new global connections (both examples of direct network effects) and now to connecting users to professional creators (indirect network effects), it has come under fire for everything from violating individual privacy to bullying small companies as a monopoly to radicalizing its users. Now, it is struggling to find solutions that don’t undercut its mission. The author calls this “the Facebook Trap.” To address the problems created by the platform — and by other social networks, too — it helps to clearly establish where the company should be held accountable. While it’s reasonable to push for changes in how Facebook’s recommendations work, it’s harder to decide how the platform should deal with organic connections, which would likely entail censoring users and blocking them from making connections that they want to make. Facebook isn’t the only company facing the conundrum of needing to undermine its own mission to minimize harm, and companies and governments will need to develop strategies for how to deal with this issue."